Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Wu Guanzhong Gallery

"The fundamental elements of formal beauty comprise form, colour and rhythm. I used Eastern rhythms in the absorption of Western form and colour, like a snake swallowing an elephant"
                                                                                    ------ Wu Guanzhong 1919 - 2010

Just visited the inaugural exhibition of  paintings of Wu Guanzhong  in the opening of the Wu Guanzhong Gallery at the National Gallery of Singapore. The exhibition is free until the end of this year, to celebrate SG50. Do visit the National Gallery as the exhibition offers an insight into the artist's prolific career, chronicling how his style evolved over five decades. Comprising about 80 pieces, the exhibition showcases key works from his practice. Many of these works, some on loan form museums in China and private collectors, are being shown public for the first time outside China.

Wu Guanzhong is one of the most significant artists of the 20th century in China. His distinctive style integrates Western and Chinese art traditions, setting a new direction for modern Chinese art.

The Wu Guanzhong Gallery showcases works donated by Wu and his family, within the larger context of ink history and aesthetics. The most valuable art donation ever made to Singapore museum to date, this is the largest holding of of his works in a public museum in the world.

Entry to the Wu Guanzhong Gallery

Wu belonged to a generation of Chinese painters who went to France to study in the 1940s. Trained in traditional Chinese ink and brush techniques as well as Western style oil painting, he developed an innovative approach that was a synthesis of both artistic traditions. His paintings are marked by colours and formal principles of Western art, but imbued with a distinctively Chinese spirit and fluidity.

While Wu is most celebrated for his landscapes, his paintings have explored various themes across the span of his career. From the late 1950s to the 1970s, he focused on adapting oil paintings to Chinese ink to express modern aesthetics. His early landscapes also gave way to graphic, nearly abstract works in the later stages of his life.

A towering figure in modern Chinese art, Wu is admired by many and remains an inspiration for young artists today.

If you can't go to the National Gallery of Singapore for whatever reasons, don't worry. I have captured most of the works on display and present them to you. Just enjoy them at the comfort of your home, over a cup of puerh, of course.

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